Utah leaders honor those who responded to Fillmore crash with 8 fatalities

Utah leaders honored those who responded to crash that killed eight people in a 22-vehicle pileup during a sandstorm in Millard County July 25. Photo Courtesy: Utah Highway Patrol

MILLARD COUNTY, Utah, Sept. 7, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah leaders attended an event in Fillmore on Tuesday to honor those who responded to a crash that killed eight people in a 22-vehicle pileup during a sandstorm in Millard County in July.

The collisions occurred at approximately 4:30 p.m. July 25, when high winds sent a sand or dust storm billowing over Interstate 15 near milepost 152, seriously impairing visibility.

Four of the fatal victims were adults and four were children under the age of 15.

Ten people were transported to area hospitals, at least three in critical condition, Utah Highway Patrol said in a statement at the time. All others who were transported had non-life-threatening injuries.

A tweet from UHP Tuesday evening says: “Tonight in Fillmore, we are honoring those who responded to the horrific crash on July 25.

“Your expertise and rapid response on July 25 weren’t an accident. You could only do what you did because you had worked to prepare yourselves in each of your disciplines.”

A follow-up tweet added: “Though we couldn’t save every life on July 25, we were all there to do the best we could. It was heartbreaking. It changed us all. We are proud to wear the uniform with you. Thank you for being our heroes.”

Commissioner of the Utah Department of Public Safety Jess Anderson, who spoke at the event, tweeted: “Your decision to be first responders was deliberate. Your decision to be ready was also deliberate. We honor your preparation and your dedication to being the best you can be. Thank you.”

UHP Colonel Michael Rapich tweeted: “On the night of July 25, when nightmare became reality, the heroes of Millard County were there when they were needed most. Thank you for your incredible service and sacrifice!”

The UHP summoned troopers from Richfield and Beaver to assist with the crash. Multiple ground and air ambulances also responded to transport victims.

Those who died were in three vehicles, including five family members from Lehi:

  • Race Sawyer (driver), 37
  • Ryder Sawyer, 12, Race’s son
  • Passenger Kortni Sawyer, 30, of St. George, sister-in-law to Race Sawyer
  • Riggins Sawyer, 6, of St. George
  • Franki Sawyer, 2, of St. George

Also, fatally injured in the accident were two Salt Lake City residents:

  • Richard Lorenzon (driver), 51
  • Maricela Lorenzon, 47

A teenage passenger from Arizona also died from injuries sustained in a third vehicle:

  • Cameron Valentine, 15, Yuma, Arizona

“Some minor crashes in the midst of the storm blocked the roadway,” the previous UHP statement said. “In the process of coming to a stop, a semi appears to have rear-ended a pickup. The most significant crashes happened behind the semi with two vehicles becoming wedged underneath the back of the trailer. They appear to have been hit from behind by another pickup. Another vehicle appears to have sideswiped the semitrailer, as well.”


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